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News Release

USDA Provides Emergency Watershed Protection Disaster Funding To New Mexico Communities Impacted by the Hermit’s Peak and Calf Canyon Wildfire

First Step: Aerial Seeding on Fire-Impacted Lands

Mora, N.M., July 12, 2022, The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) will direct over $133 million of Bipartisan Infrastructure Law (BIL) funding to cover 100% of the cost of post-wildfire recovery efforts in communities impacted by the Hermits Peak and Calf Canyon wildfire. NRCS, in cooperation with the U.S. Forest Service, will use Emergency Watershed Protection (EWP) program BIL funds to implement much-needed aerial seeding — a successful post-wildfire conservation practice that helps reduce soil erosion, restore ground cover and establish native plant species.

“Our New Mexico staff are working with our partners and landowners to provide immediate relief in every way we can. We have expertise on the ground and funds on the way to get help where it is needed to expedite restoration work on the land,” said NRCS Chief Terry Cosby.

EWP is designed as a recovery effort to assist communities impacted by floods, fires, windstorms and other natural disasters. Wildfire recovery efforts are being locally led by Western Mora and Tierra Y Montes Soil and Water Conservation Districts. Communities affected by the wildfire are encouraged to contact their local NRCS office to request assistance. Requests for assistance must be made within 60-days after a disaster.

NRCS recently announced a waiver of the cost-share requirement for EWP assistance in areas of New Mexico impacted by recent wildfires. Today’s announcement further builds on NRCS’ strategic, watershed-focused wildfire recovery efforts in the state, and the Biden-Harris Administration’s broader effort to invest in infrastructure through its watershed programs, the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, and other efforts.

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This $133 million investment for the Hermits Creek and Calf Canyon wildfire builds on $586 million invested in watershed recovery and prevention projects across the country this year through the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law.

Since their enactment in 1948, NRCS’ watershed programs have designed and built 11,000 dams, constructed water storage structures, flood management systems, bank stabilization, moved towns, redirected stream flows, re-established wildlife habitat and more to save lives and protect watersheds. 

USDA touches the lives of all Americans each day in so many positive ways. Under the Biden-Harris Administration, USDA is transforming America’s food system with a greater focus on more resilient local and regional food production, fairer markets for all producers, ensuring access to safe, healthy and nutritious food in all communities, building new markets and streams of income for farmers and producers using climate smart food and forestry practices, making historic investments in infrastructure and clean energy capabilities in rural America, and committing to equity across the Department by removing systemic barriers and building a workforce more representative of America. To learn more, visit usda.gov.   

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